By Erik S. Hanley

MEQUON - Mequon-Thiensville School District Superintendent Demond Means is heading to Georgia.

The Clarke County School District unanimously approved a contract to hire Means as its superintendent at its May 4 school board meeting.

According to a release from the Mequon-Thiensville School District sent minutes after the approval, Means' service to MTSD will end June 30 with his appointment as superintendent of CCSD, based in Athens, beginning in July. With such a fast turnaround, Means said the transition has already started now that things have been solidified.

“I cannot imagine a more ideal incoming superintendent for the Clarke County School District and the Athens community," said CCSD Board President Charles Worthy in the release.


Means, who has lived in Wisconsin his whole life, said one aspect that is difficult about leaving is he has a lot of family and friends here with whom he has made “a lot of warm memories.”

He also said he was going to miss Summerfest.

Why Georgia?

Means shared previously he was attracted to CCSD due to its focus on closing the achievement gap.

“The opportunity ahead of us is defining a strategy to close the achievement gap,” Means said, citing that nearly 85 percent of students in Clarke County are on the free or reduced lunch program.

“We also need strategies to elevate academic achievement,” he added. “I don’t view it as a challenge; I view it as an opportunity to tackle along with the rest of the staff and community.”

He was the sole finalist out of 70 applicants for the position.

The contract had already been sent to Means prior to the CCSD school board meeting; however, it had not yet been approved. The board formally approved the contract with a few changes from the one initially transmitted to Means.

Following the approval, applause filled the room as seen on a Facebook Live video from the district with someone yelling out "welcome Dr. Means" as the camera panned to him.

Means said CCSD is an "amazing school system" and he is anxious to get to work. He pledged to try and have at least 100 conversations in 100 days with members of CCSD.

"As your superintendent, the first thing I want to do is listen to people and have dialogue with individuals, and find out what the community wants for its children and their future," he said. "It's reassuring to be in a school system where your values align with the values of the community and the school district."

Means also shared some thoughts on MTSD in the release.

“I will always hold fondly my nine years as superintendent of schools in the Mequon-Thiensville School District,” Means said. “My time as superintendent was professionally and personally fulfilling, and for that, I thank the board of education, the staff, the teachers, the parents, the students and community of the Mequon-Thiensville School District. I am confident that the work we accomplished together will continue to enrich the educational experience of future generations of children in the Mequon-Thiensville community."

The release highlighted some of Means' accomplishments while superintendent, including helping to develop a strategic plan to prioritize district goals and objectives to guide decision-making. It further mentions the addition of math and literacy specialists added to each school in the district under Means' leadership as well as prioritization of social-emotional supports, implementation of programs such as AVID, and a successful referendum.

“We are grateful to Dr. Means for nine years of dedicated service to our district, the students, and the Mequon-Thiensville community,” said MTSD Board President Stephanie Clark, who will also leave the district in June. “Excellence permeates every facet of this school district. That sustained excellence requires a strong team of educators and administrators, but it also requires visionary leadership. Dr. Means has fulfilled that role as visionary leader, and because of it, the school district stands poised for continued success.”

To MTSD, the first place he received a teaching contract and the first place he was superintendent, Means had a few closing comments in an interview with Ozaukee Now.

“I would like to say thank you to community members and staff,” he said. “Thank you for allowing me to be part of the team, it’s been a true privilege and honor and I will always hold the Mequon-Thiensville School District in high esteem in a special place in my heart.”

Details for an opportunity to honor Means for his work at MTSD are being finalized.

What's next for MTSD?

“Finding a leader who is aligned with our mission, who will support and help advance our strategic plan, and who understands our community are key considerations, and the board is aligned in its focus on finding that person,” Clark said. “While we are saddened by Dr. Means’ transition, we are confident that the school district’s standards of excellence will persist well into the future, thanks to a strong leadership team, great teachers, an incredible staff and an engaged and supportive community.”

Means said whoever the school board chooses to fill his position will be “inheriting an amazing school system with great teachers, parental support, and students.”

Regarding advice for the incoming superintendent, Means simply said they should “continue to strive for excellence.”

Clark said in the release the MTSD school board was aware this was the likely outcome and they have been "active and deliberate in its investigation of options for how to approach this next phase in leadership transition."

The MTSD school board met April 26 in closed session to "consider employment of a public employee over which the board exercises responsibility for the position of superintendent of schools," according to the agenda for the meeting.

Additionally, the release mentions the board has consulted with outside educational leadership experts while considering all possible courses of action.